Preoperative contrast-enhanced computed tomographic characterisation of pancreatic cystic lesions: A prospective study.SA J Radiol 2019; 23(1):1727SJ
Characterisation of pancreatic cystic lesions has a direct role in their management and computed tomography is the mainstay of investigation for diagnosing and characterising them.
The aim of this study was to prospectively assess the diagnostic accuracy of contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CECT) in preoperative characterisation of pancreatic cystic lesions with histopathology as the reference standard.
A total of 38 patients with cystic pancreatic lesions diagnosed after clinical, laboratory and sonographic evaluation, irrespective of age, were preoperatively evaluated with CECT. Images were reviewed for the general characteristics of the lesions on pre-contrast and portal venous phase images and overall diagnostic accuracy calculated. Imaging findings were compared with histopathology, or cytology and/or intra-operative findings.
Serous cystadenoma (SCA) was the most common cystic pancreatic lesion found in 31.6% of patients followed by mucinous cystadenoma (MCA) (26.3%), solid pseudo-papillary tumour (SPT) (21.1%) and intra-ductal papillary mucinous neoplasm (IPMN) (10.5%). Three patients (7.9%) had simple cysts and one patient (2.6%) had a lymphangioma. The diagnostic accuracy of CECT for pancreatic cystic lesions was found to be 72.5.
The diagnostic accuracy of computed tomography (CT) was high for SCA, IPMN and pancreatic cysts, and low for MCA and SPT. Combination of a multiloculated cystic lesion with locule size of less than 20 mm, septal enhancement with relative lack of wall enhancement, central scar and lobulated outline are highly specific for SCA. Unilocular or macro-cystic pattern with locule size of more than 20 mm, female gender and wall enhancement with smooth external contour are pointers towards MCA. Solid cystic pancreatic head lesions in young females may be suggestive of SPT. A dilated main pancreatic duct in a cystic lesion with internal septations may point towards IPMN. Fluid attenuation lesions with imperceptible non-enhancing wall indicate pancreatic cysts. Lastly, pseudocysts and neuroendocrine tumours with cystic components are great mimickers of pancreatic cystic lesions, and a history of pancreatitis and hormonal profile of patients should always be sought.